Vietnam exported more than 5.7 million metric tons of crude oil as of August 15, raking in more than $2.56 billion, according to customs data.

In the same period last year, the Southeast Asian country, whose exports rely greatly on crude oil, earned more than $5.04 billion from shipment of 5.9 million metric tons.

The slumping oil prices on the global market are the obvious culprit for the loss of the Vietnam’s oil exporting sector.

U.S. oil prices traded below $40 a barrel, ending 2 percent lower on Friday on signs of U.S. oversupply and weak Chinese manufacturing and notching the longest weekly losing streak in almost three decades.

U.S. crude on Friday dipped below the $40 threshold for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis, Reuters reported on Saturday.

Brent oil ended $1.16, or 2.5 percent, lower at $45.46 a barrel. It hit a low of $45.07 and threatened to break below $45 a barrel for the first time since March 2009, according to Reuters.

The collapse of oil prices will affect the Vietnamese economy in both positive and negative ways, according to analysts.

The country’s oil and gas behemoth, PetroVietnam (PVN), said the oil price fall has left negative impacts on its operations and business results in this year’s first half.

But PVN will have to “consider many issues and monitor market development” to decide whether it has to cut oil exploration capacity, a company’s executive said when contacted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday.

The state-run oil and gas giant has been tasked by the government with exploring 16.8 million metric tons of crude oil in 2015, and has produced 9.2 million metric tons in the first six months of the year.

But the low oil prices have indeed taken a toll on many of PVN’s subsidiaries.

The PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation, for instance, saw its accumulated pretax profit in 2015 dropped 69 percent from last year, whereas the respective decreases of the PetroVietnam Gas JSC and the Vietsovpetro joint venture are 22 percent and 36 percent.

PVN also suffered a 22 percent year-on-year decline in its revenue in the first six months of this year. The company only contributed VND63.3 trillion (US$2.83 billion) to the state budget in the six-month period, down 26 percent from a year earlier.

The company and its subsidiaries have enacted measures to optimize exploration and production to deal with the oil price collapse.

PVN is exploring oil at an average cost price of $27 a barrel.

But Marc Djandji, an expert from the VPBank Stock Co., said the slumping oil prices can also positively affect Vietnam’s economy.

The country’s production and manufacturing sector can benefit from lower fuel, coal and gas prices, he told Tuoi Tre.

The falling oil prices will also enable Vietnam to keep inflation within control and stabilize the macro-economy, one of the top priorities of the government, according to Djandji.

Vietnam’s inflation in the first seven months of this year expanded only 0.86 percent from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

However, fuel prices in Vietnam remain high against the world’s trend, with the country’s largest fuel wholesaler Petrolimex recently reporting heft profits.

Vietnam adjusted petrol price for the first time of this year on January 6, when global oil fetched $47 a barrel. But the price is now 19 percent higher than that time even though oil slumped to below $40 a barrel.

Petrolimex enjoyed a post-tax profit of VND1.12 trillion ($50 million) in the second quarter of this year, triple the figure in Q2/2014, according to a company’s report. The six-month profit of Petrolimex doubled from a year earlier to VND1.58 trillion ($70.54 million).

Vietnam currently imports petrol from Singapore at around VND9,000 a liter, but the retail price is VND18,350 a liter.

Tuoi Tre News - August 22, 2015